by Henry Lamb
First published in eco-logic,
The Commission on Global Governance
has released its recommendations in preparation for a World
Conference on Global Governance, scheduled for 1998, at which
official world governance treaties are expected to be adopted for
implementation by the year 2000.
Among those recommendations are specific
proposals to expand the authority of
the United Nations to provide:
A standing UN army
An Economic Security Council
UN authority over the global
An end to the veto power of
permanent members of the Security Council
A new parliamentary body of
"civil society" representatives (NGOs)
A new "Petitions Council"
A new Court of Criminal Justice
(Accomplished in July, 1998 in Rome)
Binding verdicts of the
International Court of Justice
Expanded authority for the
These proposals reflect the work of
dozens of different agencies and commissions over several years, but
are now being advanced by the Commission on Global Governance in its
Our Global Neighborhood (Oxford University
Press, 1995, ISBN 0-19-827998-3, 410pp).
The Commission consists of 28 individuals, carefully selected
because of their prominence, influence, and their ability to effect
the implementation of the recommendations. The Commission is not an
official body of the United Nations. It was, however, endorsed by
the UN Secretary General and funded through two trust funds of the
United Nations Development Program (UNDP), nine national
governments, and several foundations, including the MacArthur
Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Carnegie Corporation.
The Commission believes that world events, since the creation of the
United Nations in 1945, combined with advances in technology, the
information revolution, and the now-global awareness of impending
environmental catastrophe, create a climate in which the people of
the world will recognize the need for, and the benefits of, global
Global governance, according to the
report, "does not imply world government or world federalism."
Although the difference between "world government" and "global
governance" has been compared to the difference between "rape" and
"date-rape," the system of governance described in the report is a
There is no historic model for the
system here proposed, nor is there any method by which the governed
may decide whether or not they wish to be governed by such a system.
Global governance is a procedure toward defined objectives that
employs a variety of methods, none of which give the governed an
opportunity to vote "yes" or "no" for the outcome.
by administrative bodies, or by bodies of appointed delegates, or by
"accredited" civil society organizations, are already implementing
many of the recommendations just published by the Commission.
for Global Governance
The foundation for global governance is the belief that the world is
now ready to accept a "global civic ethic" based on "a set of core
values that can unite people of all cultural, political, religious,
or philosophical backgrounds." This belief is reinforced by another
"that governance should be underpinned by democracy at all
levels and ultimately by the rule of enforceable law."
The report says:
"We believe that all humanity could uphold the core
values of respect for life, liberty, justice and equity, mutual
respect, caring, and integrity."
In the fine print, these lofty
values lose much of their appeal. Respect for life, for example, is
not limited to human life. "Respect for life" actually means equal
respect for all life.
The Global Biodiversity Assessment
(Section 9), prepared under the auspices of the United Nations
Environment Programme, describes in great detail the biocentric view
that "humans are one strand in nature's web," consistent with the
biocentric view that all life has equal intrinsic value. Some
segments of humanity may balk at extending to trees, bugs, and
grizzly bears the same respect for life that is extended to human
"Next to life, liberty is what
people value most," the report says. It also says: "The impulse
to possess turf is a powerful one for all species; yet it is one
that people must overcome."
It also says:
"global rules of custom constrain
the freedom of sovereign states," and "sensitivity over the
relationship between international responsibility and national
sovereignty [is a] considerable obstacle to the leadership at
the international level," and "Although states are sovereign,
they are not free individually to do whatever they want."
Maurice Strong, a member of the
Commission, and a likely candidate for the position of Secretary
General, said in an essay entitled Stockholm to Rio: A Journey Down
"It is simply not feasible for
sovereignty to be exercised unilaterally by individual
nation-states, however powerful. It is a principle which will
yield only slowly and reluctantly to the imperatives of global
The core value of "justice and equity"
is the basis for sweeping changes in the UN as proposed by the
Commission. The Commission has determined that:
"Although people are born into
widely unequal economic and social circumstances, great
disparities in their conditions or life chances are an affront
to the human sense of justice. A broader commitment to equity
and justice is basic to more purposeful action to reduce
disparities and bring about a more balanced distribution of
opportunities around the world. A commitment to equity
everywhere is the only secure foundation for a more humane world
order.... Equity needs to be respected as well in relationships
between the present and future generations. The principle of
intergenerational equity underlies the strategy of sustainable
"Mutual respect" is broadly defined as "tolerance."
"Some assertions of particular
identities may in part be a reaction against globalization and
homogenization, as well as modernization and secularization.
Whatever the causes, their common stamp is intolerance."
Individual achievement and personal
responsibility are counter to the value of "mutual respect" as
suggested in the UN's World Core Curriculum, authored by Robert
Muller, Chancellor of the UN University and former Deputy Secretary
General to three UN Secretaries General.
The Robert Muller School
World Core Curriculum Manual (November, 1986) says:
"The idea for the school grew out of
a desire to provide experiences which would enable the students
to become true planetary citizens through a global approach to
The first principle of the curriculum is
"Promote growth of the group idea,
so that group good, group understanding, group interrelations
and group goodwill replace all limited, self-centered objectives
leading to group consciousness."
The value of "caring" is
institutionalized in the Commission's proposals:
"The task for governance is to
encourage a sense of caring, through policies and mechanisms
that facilitate co-operation to help those less privileged or
needing comfort and support in the world."
"Integrity" is defined to be the
adoption and practice of these core values and the absence of
corruption. As the world adopts these core values, the Commission
believes a "global ethic" will emerge.
Global governance will,
"Embody this ethic in the evolving
system of international norms, adapting, where necessary,
existing norms of sovereignty and self-determination to changing
The effectiveness of this global ethic,
"will depend upon the ability of
people and governments to transcend narrow self-interests and
agree that the interests of humanity as a whole will be best
served by acceptance of a set of common rights and
responsibilities. Without the objectives and limits that a
global ethic would provide, however, global civil society could
become unfocused and even unruly. That could make effective
global governance difficult."
Among the "rights" such a global ethic
would bestow upon all people are:
The right to "a secure life" means much
more than freedom from the threat of war.
"Human security includes safety from
chronic threats such as hunger, disease, and repression, as well
as protection from sudden and harmful disruptions in the
patterns of daily life. The Commission believes that the
security of people must be regarded as a goal as important as
the security of states."
Herein lies a significant expansion of
the responsibilities of the United Nations. Until now, the UN's
responsibility was limited to its member states. The Commission's
proposals will give to the UN responsibility for the security of
individuals within the boundaries of member states. This shift is
extremely significant as we shall see when we examine proposed
changes in the structure and authority of UN organizations.
The right to a secure life also means the right to live on a secure
"Human activity...combined with
unprecedented increases in human numbers...are impinging on the
planet's basic life support systems. Action must be taken now to
control the human activities that produce these risks.... In
confronting these risks, the only acceptable path is to apply
the `precautionary principle'."
Clearly, the Commission sees the UN as
the global authority for protecting the environment.
The right to earn a "fair living" carries with it far-reaching
implications. The Commission discusses at length what is "fair" and
what is not. It is not fair, for example, for the developed
countries, which contain 20 percent of the population, to use 80
percent of the natural resources. It is not fair for the permanent
members of the Security Council to have the right of veto.
general, it is not fair for one segment of the population to be rich
while another segment of the population is poor.
"Unfair in themselves, poverty and
extreme disparities of income fuel both guilt and envy when made
more visible by global television. They demand, and in recent
decades have begun to receive, a new standard of global
The right to earn a fair living implies
that there must be some kind of a job available from which people
may earn their living. Under the auspices of a new Economic Security
Council, which we will discuss later, the Commission would give the
UN responsibility for seeing that all people would have "an
opportunity to earn a fair living."
The Commission sees pollution of the global atmosphere and the
depletion of ocean fisheries as inadequacies of global governance.
"We propose, therefore, that the
Trusteeship Council... be given the mandate of exercising
trusteeship over the global commons. Its functions would include
the administration of environmental treaties.... It would refer
any economic or security issues arising from these matters to
the Economic Security Council or the Security Council."
Trusteeship over the global commons
provides the basis to levy user fees, taxes and royalties for
permits to use the global commons.
Global commons are defined to be:
"the atmosphere, outer space, the
oceans, and the related environment and life-support systems
that contribute to the support of human life."
This broad definition of the global
commons would give the UN authority to deal with environmental
matters inside the borders of sovereign states, and on privately
The foundation of global governance is a set of core values, a
belief system, which contains ideas that are foreign to the American
experience, and ignores other values and ideas that are precious to
the American experience. The values and ideas articulated in the
Commission's report are not new. They have been tried, under
different names, in other societies. Often, the consequences have
These values, under new names, have been
emerging in UN documents since the late 1980s, and have dominated
international conferences, agreements, and treaties since 1992. This
set of core values underlies Agenda 21 adopted in Rio de Janeiro.
Virtually every international treaty and
agreement introduced during this decade reflects this set of core
values. The Commission's recommendations to achieve global
governance seek to enforce these values through the programs
authorized and implemented by a global bureaucracy growing from a
revitalized and restructured United Nations system.
of Global Governance
The UN Security Council is the supreme organ of the United Nations
system. Originally, the Council had eleven members, of which China,
France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States were
permanent members with veto power. The other six positions rotated
in two- year terms among the remaining members of the UN General
The Council now has 15 members which
would be increased to 23. The proposal stops short of recommending
the elimination of permanent status, but does recommend that the
remaining members serve as "standing members" until a full review of
member status can be conducted, including the permanent members, "in
the first decade of the next century." A phase-out of the veto power
of permanent members is recommended.
Perhaps more important are the proposed new principles under which
the Security Council may take action.
"We propose that the following be
used as norms for security policies in the new era:
All people, no less than all
states, have a right to a secure existence
Global security policy should be
to prevent conflict and war and to maintain the integrity of
the planet's life-support systems by eliminating the
economic, social, environmental, political and military
conditions that generate threats to the security of people
and the planet
Military force is not a
legitimate political instrument except in self-defense or
under UN auspices
The production and trade in arms
should be controlled by the international community"
The Commission believes and recommends,
"that it is necessary to
assert...the rights and interests of the international community
in situations within individual states in which the security of
people is violated extensively. We believe a global consensus
exists today for a UN response on humanitarian grounds in cases
of gross abuse of the security of people."
Subtle, carefully crafted language
significantly expands the mission and authority of the UN Security
Council to intervene in the affairs of sovereign states when it
determines that the security of individuals is in jeopardy. Security
of individuals, under the set of core values and the new global
ethic, includes an opportunity to earn a fair living, and equal
access to the global commons. This expanded authority includes
military intervention - as a last resort.
The Security Council would also be empowered to raise a standing
army. Article 43 of the UN Charter authorizes such a force, but has
never been activated.
The Commission says:
"It is high time that this idea - a
United Nations Volunteer Force - was made a reality."
Such a force would be under the
exclusive authority of the UN Security Council and under the
day-to-day command of the UN Secretary General. It would maintain
its own support and mobilization capabilities and be available for
"rapid deployment" anywhere in the world.
The Commission envisions a
small, highly trained, well equipped force of 10,000 troops for
immediate intervention while more conventional "peace keeping"
forces are assembled from member nations.
The Trusteeship Council is an original principal organ of the United
Nations system. Created to oversee nations in transition from
colonies to independence, its work was concluded in 1994 when the
last of the colonies, Palau in the South Pacific, gained its
The Commission has proposed amending
Chapters 12 and 13 of the UN Charter to give the Trusteeship Council
authority over the global commons, and to reconstitute the Council
with a fixed number of members including qualified members from
"civil society." This proposal is another extremely significant step
in the creation of a new form of governance. A "qualified member
from civil society" means a representative from an accredited NGO
The status of NGOs is elevated even
further in the Commission's recommendations which we will be see
later. Here, however, for the first time, unelected, self-appointed,
environmental activists are given a position of governmental
authority on the governing board of the agency which controls the
use of atmosphere, outer space, the oceans, and, for all practical
purposes, biodiversity. This invitation for "civil society" to
participate in global governance is described as expanding
The work assigned to the Trusteeship Council is now the
responsibility of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), which
was an original principal organ of the UN system. The Commission
proposes that ECOSOC be retired and all the agencies and programs
under its purview be shifted to the Trusteeship Council.
Nations Environment Programme, along with all the environmental
treaties under its jurisdiction, would ultimately be governed by a
special body of environmental activists, chosen only from accredited
NGOs appointed by delegates to the General Assembly who are
themselves appointed by the President.
The Commission says:
"The most important step to be taken
is the conceptual one that the time has come to acknowledge that
the security of the planet is a universal need to which the UN
system must cater."
The environmental work program of the
entire UN system will be authorized and coordinated by this body.
Enforcement will come from an upgraded Security Council, and from
the new Economic Security Council.
The New Economic
Described as an "Apex Body," the Economic Security Council (ESC) is
proposed to have,
"the standing in relation to international economic
matters that the Security Council has in peace and security
The new ESC would be a deliberative, policy body rather
than an executive agency. It would work by consensus without veto
power by any member.
"The time is now ripe - indeed,
overdue - to create a global forum that can provide leadership
in economic, social and environmental fields."
According to the Commission, the new ESC
Continuously assess the overall
state of the world economy
Provide a long-term strategic
policy framework to promote sustainable development
Cure consistency between the
policy goals of the international economic institutions
(World Bank, International Monetary Fund, World Trade
Organization, Global Environment Facility, and others)
Study proposals for financing
public goods by international revenue raising.
are defined to be: "The rules and sense of order that must
underpin any stable and prosperous system.... It is in their
nature not to be provided by markets or by individual
governments acting in isolation")
The agenda to be addressed by the ESC
"long-term threats to security in
its widest sense, such as shared ecological crises, economic
instability, rising unemployment...mass poverty...and with the
promotion of sustainable development."
The Commission recommends that the ESC
have no more than 23 members, that it be headed by a new Deputy
Secretary-General for Economic Co-operation and Development, and
that the gross domestic product (GDP) of all member nations be
measured by and based upon "Purchase Power Parity (PPP)." PPP is an
accounting device, which (according to a chart on page 163 of the
report) transforms the 1991 U.S. trade deficit of $28 billion into a
trade surplus of $164 billion.
Both the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the International Labor
Organization (ILO) would be brought under the authority of the new
The Commission believes:
"for economic growth to raise the
living standards of the poor and be environmentally sustainable,
trade has to be open and based on stable, multilaterally agreed
The ESC would be given authority over
telecommunications and multimedia. Since the atmosphere and outer
space are "global commons" assigned to the Trusteeship Council,
businesses that use the air waves and satellites would be subject to
the policies of the ESC.
The Commission says:
"Civil society itself should try to
provide a measure of global public service broadcasting not
linked to commercial interests. The highest priority should be
given to examining how an appropriate system of global
governance can be created for overseeing the `global information
society' through a common regulatory approach."
The Commission calls on the WTO to give
poor countries preferential treatment in license allocations and to
create rules to counter the influence of "national monopolies."
Without this high-level ESC, the Commission fears that,
"the global neighborhood could
become a battleground of contending economic forces, and the
capacity of humanity to develop a common approach will be
The ESC is expected to address the
problem of tariffs and quotas, and,
"A wide range of what used to be
considered purely as national concerns: nationally created
technical and product standards, different approaches to social
provision and labour markets, competition policy, environmental
control, investment incentives, corporate taxation, and
different traditions of commercial and intellectual property
law, of corporate governance, of government intervention, and of
The ESC is designed to centralize and
consolidate policy making for not only world trade, but also for the
international monetary system and world development.
"there is a broad consensus on many
of the elements: an understanding of the importance of
environmental sustainability; financial stability; and a strong
social dimension to policy, emphasizing education (especially of
women), health, and family planning."
To deal with third-world debt, the
Commission recommends that a system be established,
"akin to corporate bankruptcy,
whereby a state accepts that its affairs will, for a while, be
placed under the management of representatives of the
international community and a fresh start is made, wiping much
of the slate clean."
The ESC is expected to facilitate
"technology transfer" which is "crucial to development" in
developing countries. The ESC is expected to establish immigration
"there is an underlying
inconsistency - even hypocrisy - in the way many governments
treat migration. They claim a belief in free markets (including
labour markets), but use draconian and highly bureaucratic
regulations to control cross-border labour migration."
Environmental policies are to be under
the authority of the Trusteeship Council, but implementation and
enforcement of those policies will largely be a function of the ESC.
Implementation measures will be coordinated through UN organizations
The Commission recognizes that:
such as the World Conservation Union (International Union for
the Conservation of Nature - IUCN), the World Resources
Institute (WRI), and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), have
also made important contributions by creating a climate
conducive to official action to improve environmental
(Co-chair of the Commission on
Global Governance is the immediate past president of the IUCN,
Shirdath Ramphal; the IUCN created the WWF in 1961, and the WWF
created the World Resources Institute in 1982. The immediate
past president of WRI, Gustave Speth, is now head of the United
Nations Development Program (UNDP), and WRI's chief policy
analyst, Rafe Pomerance, is now Deputy Assistant Secretary of
State for Environment, Health and Natural Resources).
The Commission on Sustainable
Development (CSD), created as a result of the 1992 United Nations
Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), (headed by
Maurice Strong) is expected to be,
"the focal point within the UN
system for coherence and co-ordination of programmes undertaken
by various UN agencies. The CSD should not, however, be seen
simply as an administrative coordinating body. It exists to
give political leadership more generally in the field of
sustainable development, in particular in implementing Agenda 21
as agreed at Rio."
The Commission recognizes that:
"sustainable development cannot be
achieved solely through government action or market forces. The
growing reliance on non-governmental organizations and
institutions as partners with government and business in
achieving economic progress is leading to more participatory
development. Involving agents of civil society leads to
programmes and projects that are more focused on people and more
To insure greater involvement by "civil
society," the Commission has formalized proposals to elevate the
status of NGOs.
of Global Governance
The Commission recommends the creation of two new bodies:
Assembly of the People
(2) a Forum of Civil Society
"What is generally proposed is the
initial setting up of an assembly of parliamentarians,
consisting of representatives elected by existing national
legislatures from among their members, and the subsequent
establishment of a world assembly through direct election by the
The Forum of Civil Society would consist
of "300 - 600 representatives of organizations accredited to the
General Assembly...." The Forum would meet annually prior to the
meeting of the UN General Assembly.
"The considered views of the Forum
would be a qualitative change in the underpinnings of global
NGO participation in global governance
is an essential feature, and is, in fact, the dimension of
governance that is totally new. It is no longer just an idea. It is
a demonstrated fact of life which the Commission now seeks to
institutionalize through legal status. It is the machinery of global
governance which is organized and coordinated from the highest
chambers of governance at the United Nations, to the most local
bodies of governance, including County Commissions, City Councils,
and even to local watershed councils.
The idea of NGO participation in global governance is as old as
United Nations. Julius Huxley, who founded the United Nations
Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), in
1946, also founded the IUCN in 1948. It was the IUCN that
effectively lobbyied the UN General Assembly in 1968 to adopt
Resolution #1296, which establishes a policy for "accrediting"
The IUCN is accredited to at least six
different UN organizations. Moreover, it is the premier
international NGO claiming a membership of 53 international NGOs,
550 national NGOs, 100 government agencies, and 68 sovereign
nations. The current president of the IUCN is Jay Hair, former
president of America's largest NGO, the National Wildlife
The IUCN created the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) which in turn,
created the World Resources Institute (WRI). These three NGOs share
publication credit with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
on virtually every major document on the environment that has been
released since 1972.
As of 1994, there were 980 accredited
NGOs. These NGOs are accredited because of their demonstrated
support of issues being advanced by the United Nations. A single NGO
is selected to coordinate activities within each issue area. In
addition to the Internet, NGO coordination information is published
by the WRI in a publication called Networking. Activity of
non-accredited NGOs is coordinated through membership in
The IUCN Annual Report for 1993 claims
more than 6000 "experts" in their network who serve as volunteers
"on Technical Advisory Committees, Regional Advisory Councils,
Working Groups and Task Forces. Taken together, these voluntary
groups are an immense strength of the Union."
According to the Commission's report, 28,900 international NGOs are
known to exist, and many are directly involved in advancing the
agenda of global governance. At UNCED, for example, 7,892 NGOs were
certified to participate in the "civil society forum" which preceded
the actual conference. Many of the NGOs participated in the
preliminary Preparatory Committee Meetings, or "PrepComs," and were
prepared and present to lobby the official delegates to the
conference. This procedure is followed at virtually every global and
This procedure is now being applied to domestic policy. Members of
the international NGO community have strong national constituencies,
and enormous staff and money capabilities. Global issues, such as
the Biodiversity Treaty, which require national or local action,
become the focus of the domestic agenda for national NGOs. The
structure and mechanics of "civil society" participation in global
governance is further revealed in a variety of documents originating
from the UN organizations and from the IUCN, WWF, and the WRI.
Most often, the term "Public/Private Partnerships" is used to
describe and define "civil society" participation. At the lowest,
"on-the-ground" level, NGOs are present and prepared to lobby on
issues relating to a particular watershed, or a particular project
under consideration by a local zoning board. Public/Private
Partnerships encourage the creation of "boards" or "councils" which
are supposed to represent the interests of all the "stakeholders."
In reality, these boards are encouraged
because well-prepared NGOs are most often able to dominate the
outcome. At the local level, NGOs are frequently full-time
professionals, paid by a not-for-profit organization, funded through
the coordinated efforts of the Environmental Grantmakers Association
or the federal government. The other "stakeholders" in these
partnerships are business people who work for a living and simply
want to take care of the environment, but have too little time to
become experts on the issues.
Within the broader agenda, NGOs within these local partnerships
coordinate with NGOs assigned to multi-county, or regional councils.
The NGOs that are assigned to regional councils and partnerships
coordinate with the NGOs that set the national agenda. And they are,
of course, the same NGOs that are accredited to the UN, or are
members of the IUCN.
Deep within the 1,100 or more pages of
the Global Biodiversity Assessment, there is a discussion of this
procedure which, ideally, would culminate with a "Bioregional
Council," consisting of "stakeholders," but dominated by affiliates
of "accredited" NGOs, that would have ultimate authority over all
local land and resource use decisions.
To further strengthen the participation of NGOs, the Commission
recommends the creation of "a new 'Right of Petition' available to
international civil society." The recommendation calls for the
creation of a Council for Petitions, "a high-level panel of five to
seven persons, independent of governments and selected in their
It would be appointed by the
Secretary-General with approval of the General Assembly. It should
be a Council that holds in trust 'the security of people' and makes
recommendations to the Secretary-General, the Security Council, and
the General Assembly." This new mechanism provides a direct route
from the local, "on-the-ground" NGO affiliates of national and
international NGOs to the highest levels of global governance.
Although this mechanism has not yet been
formally incorporated into the UN system, the procedure is being
used. For example, the Greater Yellowstone Coalition, a group of
affiliated NGOs, recently petitioned the World Heritage Committee of
UNESCO asking for intervention in the plans of a private company to
mine gold on private land near Yellowstone Park. The UNESCO
Committee did intervene, and immediately listed Yellowstone as a
"World Heritage Site in Danger."
Under the terms of the World Heritage
Convention, the United States is required to protect the park, even
beyond the borders of the park, and onto private lands if necessary.
"From the outset, the World Court
was marginalized... states were free to take it or leave it, in
whole or in part. The rule of law was asserted and, at the same
The Commission intends to remedy this
situation. Historically, scholars have argued that international law
was not really law because there was no international legislature to
create it, nor an international police force to enforce it. The
Commission's recommendations remedy these problems.
The UN International Law Commission (ILC), a little-known subsidiary
organ of the General Assembly created in 1947, is expected to expand
its activity to include developing and drafting proposed
international law. The IUCN now provides this service through its
Environmental Law Centre.
The Commission recommends that treaties and agreements be written to
include binding adjudication by the World Court, and that all
nations "accept compulsory jurisdiction of the World Court." The WTO
is a step in this direction. Members agree in advance to accept WTO
decisions and not seek bilateral resolution of disputes.
"The very essence of global
governance is the capacity of the international community to
ensure compliance with the rules of society."
The New International
The ILC has already developed the statutes necessary to create a new
International Criminal Court. The example used to justify this court
is Lybia's refusal to extradite the accused terrorists responsible
for the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie.
"An International Criminal Court
should have an independent prosecutor or a panel of
prosecutors....Upon receipt of a complaint, the prosecutor's
primary responsibility would be to investigate an alleged crime.
The prosecutor would, of course, have to act independently and
not seek or receive instructions from any government or other
The Commission recognizes that these
recommendations may encounter opposition, and warns that,
"internal political processes within
nation-states...may become obstacles to adoption of
international standards. In the contemporary world, populist
action has the potential to strike down the carefully crafted
products of international deliberation....Yielding to internal
political pressure can in a moment destroy the results of a
decade of toil."
Although not explicitly referenced, this
revealing commentary likely points to the outpouring of grassroots
opposition to the Biodiversity Treaty when presented to the Senate
for ratification in the 103rd Congress. The treaty - signed by
President Clinton, approved by the Democratically-controlled
Relations Committee, championed by virtually all the accredited
NGOs, and expected to be approved by a wide margin, - never reached
the floor for a vote because of "populist action."
The Commission does not discuss why the activity of accredited NGOs
and their affiliates is "expanding democracy" through civil society
participation, while at the same time, activity of non-accredited
civil society is "political pressure," and "populist action."
The Commission says:
"Past reports recommending globally
redistributive tax principles have received short shrift. The
time could be right, however, for a fresh look and a
breakthrough in this area. The idea of safeguarding and managing
the global commons - particularly those related to the physical
environment - is now widely accepted; this cannot happen with a
drip-feed approach to financing. And the notion of expanding the
role of the United Nations is now accepted in relation to
Currently, total UN expenditures are
slightly more than $11 billion annually, although not all the costs
of peacekeeping activities are reflected through the UN system. The
cost of implementing Agenda 21 was estimated in 1992 to be $600
billion per year. The proposed expansion of the UN system, and the
proposals to expand programmatic responsibility suggest staggering
Currently, UN costs are paid by member
nations in the form of assessments and voluntary contributions. The
UN Charter says the costs will be paid by member nations as
apportioned by the General Assembly, with no nation paying more than
25 percent. The United States is assessed 25 percent, contributes
substantially to the volunteer programs, and ultimately pays more
than 30 percent of the peacekeeping costs.
Because the UN has no power to enforce payment of either assessments
or voluntary contributions, the Commission says,
"the industrialized countries... have
severely constrained the exercise of the Assembly's collective
authority. A start should be made in establishing practical, if
initially small-scale, schemes of global financing to support
specific UN operations."
The United States has often withheld
payment as a means of influencing UN policy. The Commission is
careful to avoid giving the UN direct taxing power.
"We specifically do not propose a
taxing power located anywhere in the UN system. User charges,
levies, taxes - global revenue-receiving arrangements of
whatever kind - have to be agreed globally and implemented by a
treaty or convention."
Such an arrangement appears in the Law
of the Seas treaty which authorizes a UN organization to charge
application fees and royalties to companies wishing to mine the sea
bed - even though the United States has not ratified the treaty.
The Commission's refusal to recommend taxing power for the UN while
advancing dozens of global revenue-raising schemes is similar to
declaring that "global governance" is not "world government." The
"It would be appropriate to charge
for the use of some common global resources. Another idea would
be for corporate taxation of multinational companies."
The favored scheme was first advanced by
Nobel Prize winner, James Tobin. He has proposed a tax on
international monetary exchange which would yield an estimated $1.5
trillion per year.
"Charges for use of the global
commons have a broad appeal on grounds of conservation and
economic efficiency as well as for political and revenue
The Commission supports a $2 per barrel
tax on oil, which automatically escalates to $10 per barrel in 10
"A carbon tax introduced across a
large number of countries or a system of traded permits for
carbon emissions would yield very large revenues indeed."
Other recommendations for global
A surcharge on airline
tickets for use of the global commons
A charge on ocean maritime
User fees for ocean fishing
Special user fees for
activities in Antarctica
Parking fees for
Charges for user rights of
the electromagnetic spectrum
"We urge the evolution of a
consensus to help realize the long discussed and increasingly
relevant concept of global taxation."
Many of the recommendations contained in this report have already
been incorporated into treaties, agreements, and proposals initiated
by the international community. Some have already been implemented.
The Commission has called for the General Assembly to schedule a
World Conference on Governance in 1998.
Preparatory work has already begun.
PrepComs will be conducted to develop documents on global governance
- similar to the procedure used to develop the documents presented
at Rio - which are to be adopted at the 1998 Conference and ratified
for implementation by the year 2000. Only "accredited" NGOs will be
allowed to participate in the PrepComs. Only accredited NGOs and
their affiliates will participate in the adoption strategy.
More importantly, only delegates appointed by the President of the
United States will be able to cast a vote on all the issues that so
dramatically affect every American. The current Presidential
appointees are the very people who helped develop the proposals from
their various positions with accredited NGOs.
The NGO machinery of global governance is at work in America. Their
activity includes agitation at the local level, lobbying at the
national level, promoting the celebration of the UN's 50th
anniversary, producing studies to justify global taxation, and
paying for television ads that elevate the image of the UN.
The strategy to advance the global
governance agenda specifically includes programs to discredit
individuals and organizations that generate "internal political
pressure" or "populist action" that fails to support the new global
ethic. The national media has systematically portrayed dissenting
voices as right-wing-extremist, militia-supporting fanatics.
Consequently, the vast majority of
American citizens have no idea how far the global governance agenda
has progressed. This year, 1996, may be the last opportunity the
world has to avoid, or at least to influence the shape of global
governance. The United States is the only remaining power strong
enough to influence the United Nations.
Those voices now speaking for all
Americans in the United Nations are cheering the forces that would
diminish national sovereignty and render individual liberty and
property rights relics of the past. If the current voices
representing the United States continue to push for global
governance, the world will be committed to a course which will truly
transform society more dramatically than the Bolshevik revolution
The recommendations of the Commission, if implemented, will bring
all the people of the world into a global neighborhood managed by a
world-wide bureaucracy, under the direct authority of a minute
handful of appointed individuals, and policed by thousands of
individuals, paid by accredited NGOs, certified to support a belief
system, which to many people - is unbelievable and unacceptable.
(Our Global Neighborhood: The
Report of the Commission on Global Governance may be obtained from
Oxford University Press. Call (919) 677-0977 ; paperback, $14.95,
ISBN 0-19-827997-3, 410 pages.)
Commission on Global Governance
Former West German Chancellor, Willy Brandt, called a group of
prestigious, international leaders to Konigswinter, Germany in
January 1990. They asked Ingvar Carlsson (then Prime Minister of
Sweden), and Shirdath Ramphal (Secretary General of the Commonwealth
and President of the International Union for the Conservation of
Nature (IUCN), and Jan Pronk (Minister for Development Co-operation
of the Netherlands) to prepare a report on the opportunities for
The report was presented in April, 1991,
in Stockholm, and Carlsson and Ramphal were asked to co-chair the
new commission the report recommended. The Co-chairmen met with
Boutros Boutros-Ghali, UN Secretary General, in April, 1992, to
secure his endorsement of the effort.
By September, the Commission was
established with 28 members and funding from two trust funds
administered by the United Nations Development Program, nine
national governments, and private foundations.
Ingvar Carlsson, Sweden Prime
Minister of Sweden 1986-91, and Leader of the Social Democratic
Party in Sweden.
Shirdath Ramphal, Guyana
Secretary-General of the Commonwealth from 1975 to 1990,
President of the IUCN, Chairman of the Steering Committee of the
Leadership in Environment and Development Program; Chairman,
Advisory Committee, Future Generations Alliance Foundation,
Chancellor, University of the West Indies, and the University of
Warwick in Britain, member of five international commissions in
the 1980s, and author of Our Country, The Planet, written
especially for the Earth Summit.
Ali Alatas, Indonesia Minister for
Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia since 1988;
permanent representative to the United Nations.
Abdlatif Al-Hamad, Kuwait
Director-General and Chairman of the Arab Fund for Economic and
Social Development in Kuwait. Former Minister of Finance and
Minister of Planning; member of the Independent Commission on
International Development Issues; Board member of the Stockholm
Oscar Arias, Costa Rica President of
Costa Rica from 1986 to 1990; drafted the Arias Peace Plan which
was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize; founded the Arias Foundation
for Peace and Human Progress.
Anna Balletbo i Puig, Spain Member
of the Spanish Parliament since 1979; member of the Committee on
Foreign Affairs and on Radio and Television; Executive Committee
of the Socialist Party in Catalonia; General Secretary of the
Olof Palme International Foundation; President of Spain's United
Nations Association; and activist on women's issues since 1975.
Kurt Biedenkopf, Germany
Minister-President of Saxony since 1990; member of the Federal
Parliament; Secretary General of the Christian Democratic Union
Allan Boesak, South Africa Minister
for Economic Affairs for the Western Cape Region; Director of
the Foundation for Peace and Justice; Chairman of the African
National Congress (ANC); President of the World Alliance of
Reformed Churches and a Patron of the United Democratic Front.
Manuel Camacho Solis, Mexico Former
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Mayor of Mexico City; Mexico's
Secretary of Urban Development and Ecology.
Bernard Chidzero, Zimbabwe Minister
of Finance; Deputy Secretary-General of UNCTAD; Chairman of the
Development Committee of the World Bank and the IMF; and member
of the World Commission on Environment and Development.
Barber Conable, United States
President of the World Bank from 1986 to 1991; Chairman of the
Committee on US-China Relations; Senior Advisor to the Global
Environment Facility; member of the House of Representatives
from 1965 to 1985; member of the Board of Regents of the
Smithsonian Institution; and Trustee and member of the Executive
Committee of Cornell University.
Jacques Delors, France President of
the European Commision since 1985; Minister for Economics,
Finance and Budget; Mayor of Clichy; and member of the European
Jiri Dienstbier, Czech Republic
Chairman of the Free Democrats Party; Chairman of the Czech
Council on Foreign Relations; and Deputy Prime Minister of
Enrique Iglesias, Uruguay President
of the Inter-American Development Bank since 1988; Minister of
External Relations; Executive Secretary of the UN Economic
Commission for Latin America; President, Central Bank of
Uruguay; and Chairman of the Conference that launched the
Uruguay Round of Trade Negotiations resulting in the World Trade
Frank Judd, United Kingdom Member of
the House of Lords; Member of Parliament; Under-Secretary of
State for Defence; Minister for Overseas Development; Minister
of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth; and Director of Oxfam
from 1985 to 1991.
Hongkoo Lee, Republic of Korea
Deputy Prime Minister; Minister of National Unification;
Ambassador to the United Kingdom; Professor of Political Science
at Seoul National University; Director of the Institute of
Social Sciences; and Chairman of Seoul's 21st Century Committee.
Wangari Maathai, Kenya Founder and
co-ordinator of the Green Belt Movement in Kenya; Chair of the
National Council of Women of Kenya and spokesperson for
non-government organizations at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio.
Sadako Ogata, Japan United Nations
High Commissioner for Refugees since 1991; Director of the
International Relations Institute; Representative to the UN;
member of the Independent Commission on International
Humanitarian Issues; and Chairman of the Executive Board of
Olara Otunnu, Uganda President of
the International Peace Academy in New York; Foreign Minister
from 1985 to 1986; Permanent Representative to the UN; and
Chaired UN Commission on Human Rights.
I.G. Patel, India Chairman of the
Aga Khan Rural Support Programme; Governor of the Reserve Bank
of India; Chief Economic Adviser to the Indian Government;
Permanent Secretary of the Indian Finance Ministry; Director of
the London School of Economics and Political Science; Executive
Director of the International Monetary Fund; and Deputy
Administrator of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
Celina Vargas do Amaral Peixoto,
Brazil Director Getulio Vargas Foundation; Director-General of
the Brazilian National Archives; Director of the Center of
Research and Documentation on Brazilian History.
Jan Pronk, Netherlands Minister for
Development Co-operation; Vice Chairman of the Labor Party;
Member of Parliament; Deputy Secretary-General of UNCTAD; and
Member of the Independent Commission on International
Qian Jiadong, China Deputy
Director-General of the China Centre for International Studies;
Ambassador and Permanent Representative in Geneva to the United
Nations; Ambassador for Disarmament Affairs; and member of the
Marie-Angelique Savane, Senegal
Director of the Africa Division of the UN Population Fund;
Director of the UNFPA in Dakar; Advisor to the UN High
Commissioner for Refugees; team leader at the UN Research
Institute for Social Development; President of the Association
of African Women for Research and Development; and member of the
UNESCO Commission on Education for the 21st Century.
Adele Simmons, United States
President of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation;
member of the Council on Foreign Relations; member of the UN
High Level Advisory Board on Sustainable Development; member of
President Carter's Commission on World Hunger; and member of
President Bush's Commission on Environmental Quality.
Maurice Strong, Canada Chairman and
CEO of Ontario Hydro; Chairman of the Earth Council;
Secretary-General of Earth Summits I and II; and member of the
World Commission on Environment and Development. (See ecologic,
Brian Urquhart, United Kingdom
Scholar-in-Residence at the Ford Foundation's International
Affairs Program; United Nations Under-Secretary-General for
Special Political Affairs 1972 to 1986; Member of the
Independent Commission on Disarmament and Security Issues.
Yuli Vorontsov, Russia Ambassador to
the United States; Ambassador to the United Nations; Advisor to
President Boris Yeltsin on Foreign Affairs; and served as
Ambassador to Afghanistan, France, and India.